Last year I was looking at my inbox and suddenly an email popped up with the title “Growth Talks…”. Simultaneously I decided to read the famous book “Measure what mattes from John Doerr”. The more I read of both strategies, the more similarities I find. Here I will write a short comparison with the aim to have a better framework of a new ambitious change of mind set that Siemens is envisioning around the world.
What stand for OKR?
Objective and Key Results is the full name of one of the most applicable strategies, mindsets, methodologies or framework around the world. Plenty companies have swift their philosophy to turn into OKR oriented. I am sure you have heard names like: Netflix, Coursera, Nu Bank, Intuit, Adobe, Alphabet (Google, Youtube, Gmail, Chrome, etc), The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Intel, Zume Pizza, The Myfitnesspal among many others. More than 15 years have shown the revolution of these companies and their global results once OKRs were adopted. What is the magic behind? Nothing but an ambitious behavioral and culture change among people and companies; from the CEO to frontline workers, the annual strategies should be placed with OKRs and CFRs. The latter acronym stands for Conversations, Feedback and Recognition which are the triggers of people´s development within the teams.
If you don’t know where you are going, you will end up someplace else.Yogi Berra
Measure what Matters represent a powerful book full of meaningful stories. It teaches everyone how to implement a “simple goal setting” as they describe OKRs and CFRs. In Doerr´s (the author) words Your teams will achieve more than you have ever imagine before. In my words, once I finished the book, the simplicity of the framework sounds unreal due to the lack of trust and empathy. From 1911 when Frederick Windslow Taylor unleashed The Principles of Scientific Management Colleges around the world have taught us how to become employees. That worked a century ago when factories required specializing tasks after Steams ruled production during Industrial Revolution but today sounds outdated. That´s why I prefer OKR.
Objectives should be:
- Clear. Expectations must be written as clear as possible, so teams mitigate ambiguity.
- Measurable. Ambiguity must be avoided, therefore instead of writing an abstract objective you should take more time to write it appropriately.
- Audacious. Easy objectives conduct teams to accomplish them without any challenge. The book says the more audacious, the less easy way to get to them. These lead us to keep experimenting.
Key Results should be:
- Transparent. Everyone in the organization are able to see them. This helps to see everyone is running the same race.
- From 3 to 5 maximum. The book says the less key results, the more focus. It makes sense to me because sometimes is hard to follow a list of key results. You get lost in the way.
- Each key result should be measured with ranges from 0 to 1. This way people will revise the progress.
Here is an example of an objective and then three key results
What are Growth Talks?
Siemens prioritizes people´s development constantly and with this new “movement to strengthen our performance through individual growth” as it is described in the official SharePoint, the company is turning from the old What and How strategy to it´s adaptation of OKR, in my opinion. Four are the pillars of Grow talks that seek a new generation of employees from the CEO to the frontline workers.
- Clear Expectations
- Growth Perspective
- Timely Recognition
- Everyday Learning
Let me tell you that I am so enthusiastic about Growth Talks. Five years ago, I was dealing with my PMP evaluation, I remember perfectly an open discussion with my boss. My concerns were exposed in the sense of not understanding the logic of having annual objectives without any reinforcement during 12 months and then in the last month, a quick evaluation of the entire year. As you might experiment, uncertainty is one of the most certain thing in these years. Things are changing, markets are adapting faster, companies are emerging, competitors are becoming more aggressive, we must be aware of that to keep an open feedback with our managers and peers to adapt all the time our directions. Siemens describe Grow talks as follows:
- Growth Talks are our modern approach to strengthen performance: frequent, high-quality conversations that lead to better alignment and transparency, and increased corporate performance through individual growth.
- Growth Talks are both reflective and future-focused, and can happen between anyone, anywhere, at any time. They can be dialogues between manager and employee, amongst team members, or within a management team of peers.
- Instead of rigid and complex performance management processes, Growth Talks will be simple and agile — strengthening a Siemens culture of empowerment and trust and focusing around 4 key elements: Clear Expectations, Growth Perspective, Timely Recognition and Everyday Learning.
I hope after reading the above information, your are able to compare both strategies. In my opinion, we are transitioning from WHAT & HOW to become a people-oriented company. By keeping these recommendations we will reap better results at the end to fiscal year 2021 and onwards. If I had to write a critic, I would only say that we should also be working on a similar approach of OKR because Growth Talks are recently focused only in CFRs. It makes sense to start with a cultural change than asking for objectives and key result immediately as the book recommends.
If you are wondering about the PMP and how Growth Talks are connected. Please click on this link and read the documentation carefully, at the end PMP conduct to our individual goal; we must be aware. This article should not be that long I apologize for that, but this is a very important topic to be followed constantly. OKRs and Growth Talks are similar to me and I hope most of you take the time to read the book, it will help us to embrace strategies like these. Please feel free to complement my point of view with your comments and if I made mistakes let me know as well. Thanks for reading.